tuesday, a trip to the BBC

Our bus to the BBC in London left at 5.50 a.m. I had been to a late night film at Tyneside the night before and had to get up at 4.30 to make the bus so all in I had had about 3 hours sleep.

Mike Kirkup took us down. It seems he is quite chirpy and happy in the mornings. I managed to grab another hours sleep on the trip down.

I have to say, I did go a little bit gooey when we walked into the BBC building and I saw Chris Addison, looking all flustered and windswept, having what looked like a stressed conversation with a man in a suit. I stood and gawped for a bit but thankfully he didn't notice me staring.

The BBC had a very full schedule planned for us for the day. The first few talks were about pitching and commissioning. They played us a few tester videos that have been used in pitches. That was really helpful. I had heard that a lot of commissioners like videos in pitches but to have it confirmed was good. They even showed us one tester video that had been made entirely of youtube clips. Cost nothing. Got a commission.

One of the main stresses on pitching was the fact that you have to really believe in and be passionate about the idea when pitching.

I wasn't completely sold on the dude from Bristol's comment that it's only through brainstorming with other people that great ideas are born and you can't come up with a great idea on your own. Watch this video for another point of view

Having said that, I love brainstorming and I think it can often be a  fantastic way of coming up with lots of ideas.

Because most of the people we talked to were BBC 2, 3 and 4 there was no talk of Drama. I did manage to ask Kate Mordaunt about this and got told that the best way into Drama Production is through Script Reading (Skillset: Script Reader)

Again, a lot of the routes into the TV industry nowadays seem to be through jobs that don't allow you to flex your production skills. Kate said she got in through becoming a secretary. She doesn't actually make stuff though. She had a lot of useful things to say about the industry and getting into it etc, etc.

After that the schedulers of BBC 2 gave us a talk.

I would die if I had their jobs. It smacked more of working in MI5 then TV.

Their roles consist of planning what programmes are shown when and where, either to draw viewers away from other channels or not damage their own programme views by putting them on in competition with something really good. I was interested to learn that when ITV shows Downton Abbey the BBC would be reluctant to put a good drama on at the same time because they know they would lose viewers to Downton.

The other part of their role is trying to find out what ITVs schedule will look like ahead of time.

The whole thing finished at 4 p.m and by then the lack of sleep had got to me and I was finding it hard to keep my eyes open. Until I found this...

That woke me up! 
All in all I am really thankful for this trip because it has confirmed my opinion of the TV industry and it has made me decide to be very careful about what experience I go for and what I really want to do. It also gave me a good insight into pitching and commissioning, which is something I will need to know in the near future. 
And I got to touch the Tardis!!!